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Sebago Lake is the deepest and second largest lake in Maine. It stretches 12 miles long, boasts a 98 mile shoreline, covers 45 square miles, reaches an impressive 316 feet at its deepest, and has an average depth of 107 feet. In fact, since its surface is only 270 above sea level, its deepest point is about 46 feet below sea level! Some sources describe the lake as covering 29,992 acres and others as 30,513 acres. Topographical variations over time and the improved accuracy of satellite mapping may account for these differences.
Sebago Lake is located in Cumberland County and is bordered by the Maine towns of Casco, Naples, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham. The lake is the primary water supply for the Portland Water District, home to Greater Portland (Maine) and about 15% of the state's population. Although Sebago Lake is a natural lake formed more than 14,000 years ago from melting glaciers, construction of the Eel Weir Dam in 1830 raised the lake's water level about 12 feet to its present full pond level of 266 feet. The Cumberland and Oxford Canal Company constructed the dam at Wescott's Falls, Sebago Lake's natural outlet, to divert water to a newly constructed navigational canal. SAPPI is the current owner of the dam and manages the lake's water levels in compliance with various regulatory agencies.
However, Sebago Lake is much more than a water supply; it is well-known and loved for its recreational activities. The Sebago Lake State Park is one of Maine's five original state parks and covers 1,400 acres. It is open May through mid-October with sandy beaches, a boat ramp, a camping area, and day use facilities. The park provides visitors many opportunities to enjoy nature: swimming, boating, sport fishing, hiking woodland trails, and biking on park roads.
Sebago Lake is connected to Long Lake and Brandy Pond through the surviving locks from the old canal that was constructed between Portland and Naples in 1830. While in Naples, visitors can board the 90-foot paddle boat, the Songo River Queen, for a scenic tour on Long Lake, across Brandy Pond, and through the Songo River lock to Sebago Lake. Visitors can rent pontoon boats, ski boats, and jet skis from Sebago Lake marinas. Sailboat rentals and sailing lessons are also available on the lake.
Frye Island is a green jewel in the center of Sebago Lake. It lies about 1/4 mile off Raymond Cape, and is accessible by two car ferries named the Leisure Lady and the Ellie Corliss. The Frye Island community of approximately 450 homes is open May through October. Swimming and water skiing are popular activities from the island's many sandy beaches.
Known as the "home of the land-locked salmon", Sebago is an excellent fishing lake. When the glaciers retreated at the end of the Ice Age, the watershed was under sea water. Salmon populations were established as the sea water eventually retreated. Other popular fish are lake trout, brook trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and northern pike. Of note: northern pike were introduced to the lake illegally, so anglers are encouraged to keep (not release) and notify the state of all northern pike that they catch.
Sebago Lake is an exciting winter destination, too, with snowmobiling, alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, and snow tubing. The Winterfest and Derby in February features an ice fishing tournament, the Sebago Lake Snowmobile Speedrun, the Sebago Lake Cross Country Ski Race, and the Polar Ice Dip!
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